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Kilwell - 5

Transgascogne delivers a final way into the Mini Transat

by Solene Rennuit on 13 Aug 2013
Mini Transat Jacques Vapillon © www.vapillon.com
The Transgascogne was a final opportunity for some competitors to qualify for the Mini Transat. For instance Stan Maslard (Sefico Group), who needed foremost to finish the race to ensure he had the number of miles required to obtain the right to start on 13 October in Douarnenez. The race has also helped to strengthen the ambitions of many competitors who were keen to gain an advantage over their competition before the big crossing.

The strong wind, no wind, tactical game, and the round trip crossing of the Bay of Biscay, which marks the route of the Transgascogne, has offered a wide variety of conditions where everyone has had the opportunity to show their strengths. More importantly, this last race before the great confrontation has shown how extremely well matched the fleet for this 2013 edition is.

It is difficult today not to consider Gwénolé Gahinet as the favorite of the 2013 edition of the Mini Transat. The Trinidadian navigator has dominated the pre-season racing with only the Trophy Marie Agnes Peron eluding him in favour of Giancarlo Pedote. There have been several editions where the winner of the Transgascogne has gone on to win the Mini-Transat, which could mean that the skipper of Logways Watever is in an ideal position: his moral is at the zenith, he has a perfect knowledge of his ship and the competition must wonder how to stop his ascendancy.

But the game is far from over. The opposition is getting stronger. We have already seen the potential of Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian), who was absent from the Transgascogne, but other candidates are pushing themselves forward. Bertrand Delesne (Teamwork) has lost none of his bite while Julien Pulvé (Chasseur de Primes) had managed to get on the podium in the Transgascogne for his second race of the season. These four guys will also be looking out for Stan Maslard and some serious outsiders such as Louis Segré and Benoit Marie, who are never far from the forefront.

Could the dominance of Justine Mettraux (Teamwork) since the first races of the season be undermined? The Swiss sailor knows only too well, it will be hard to cope with an increasingly sharpened competition where candidates jostle to win. Her compatriot Simon Koster (Go for It), winner of the Transgascogne, is also an entirely credible candidate. Clement Bouyssou (No War) has been advancing steadily on the front of the fleet for the past two years, and Aymeric Belloir (Tout le Monde Chante contre le Cancer), Champion of France in 2012, or even Renaud Mary (www.Runo.fr) are in contention. We should also add some serious outsiders such as Ian Lipinski (Pas de Futur sans Numérique) or even Damien Cloarec (Lomig) who are becoming more confident. After a few months break, Jean-Marie Oger (Acebi) won a second place, showing that the navigator has regained his motivation and is one to watch.

To date, 82 have been awarded places of the 84 available. The two remaining seats are normally allocated to prototypes built in the year of the race. With no prototype currently under construction, August 25, the deadline for qualifying for the Mini Transat 2013, should see these two places being reallocated to the first two competitors on the waiting list. There are currently 12 skippers on the waiting list of the 94 enrolled.

For the sailors, the next nearly two months will be an opportunity to take a break, to recharge the batteries, to spend time in the boat yard making final preparations for the Mini Transat. Meanwhile, Douarnenez continues to actively prepare for the festivities that surround the start. The Port Museum will dedicate a souvenir exhibition that traces the history of the Mini-Transat, with some unpublished documents and a few surprises. The Douarnenez traders have invested in local partnerships with the sailors and the volunteers are mobilizing. Everyone is working to ensure that the celebration and send off will be as beautiful as possible in the early days of Mini Transat website

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